Title

Transparency and Traceability: Tools to Stop Illegal Fishing

Author Information

OCEANA

Date of Publication

2021 12:00 AM

Security Theme

IUU Fishing

Keywords

IUU Fishing, AIS, Automatic Identification System, global IUU fishing, catch certification, stopping illegal fishing, forced labor, human right abuses, IUU imports

Description

“Up to 32% of the wild-caught seafood imported into the United States is a product of illegal or unreported fishing.2 If IUU imports were prevented, honest U.S. fishermen could increase their income by an estimated 20%.3 The opaque seafood supply chain can disguise the true origin of seafood, allowing IUU products to be sold to American consumers. A lack of visibility and accountability on the open ocean allows bad actors to operate outside the rule of law, and in some cases, they use forced labor and engage in other human rights abuses. As a major seafood importer, the United States must ensure that U.S. dollars are not supporting these crimes at sea, which impact the economy, environment and human rights. The U.S. government has taken some steps to combat IUU fishing, including adopting catch documentation and traceability requirements for some seafood at risk of IUU fishing and seafood fraud. While these measures were a good first step, they do not apply to all seafood and therefore provide loopholes for IUU products to continue entering the U.S. market. If the U.S were to expand the current program to all seafood — requiring information about how, when and where seafood was caught or produced — and if that information followed the product from the fishing boat or farm to the dinner plate, consumers could be confident that their seafood is safe, legally caught and honestly labeled. To expand transparency of fishing, public vessel tracking systems like the automatic identification system (AIS) — which broadcasts a vessel’s location, direction and speed — should be required on more fishing boats to shine a light on what is happening beyond the horizon. Adopting stronger requirements for imported seafood would also ensure that it is held to the same standards as seafood caught in the United States. Taking action to combat IUU fishing, stop seafood fraud and expand transparency has strong bipartisan support. A recent Ipsos poll, commissioned by Oceana, found that 89% of registered voters agree that imported seafood should be held to the same standards as U.S. caught seafood. Nearly 90% of voters also agree that the government needs to do more to ensure consumers are purchasing properly labeled seafood. Seventy-seven percent of voters support requirements for all fishing vessels to be publicly trackable.4 IUU fishing and an opaque seafood supply chain threaten the U.S. economy, environment and human rights. The United States has an opportunity to build upon its past leadership on IUU fishing and seafood fraud, and adopt widely supported policy solutions that will ensure all seafood in the United States is safe, legally caught, responsibly sourced and honestly labeled."

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Jan 1st, 12:00 AM

Transparency and Traceability: Tools to Stop Illegal Fishing

“Up to 32% of the wild-caught seafood imported into the United States is a product of illegal or unreported fishing.2 If IUU imports were prevented, honest U.S. fishermen could increase their income by an estimated 20%.3 The opaque seafood supply chain can disguise the true origin of seafood, allowing IUU products to be sold to American consumers. A lack of visibility and accountability on the open ocean allows bad actors to operate outside the rule of law, and in some cases, they use forced labor and engage in other human rights abuses. As a major seafood importer, the United States must ensure that U.S. dollars are not supporting these crimes at sea, which impact the economy, environment and human rights. The U.S. government has taken some steps to combat IUU fishing, including adopting catch documentation and traceability requirements for some seafood at risk of IUU fishing and seafood fraud. While these measures were a good first step, they do not apply to all seafood and therefore provide loopholes for IUU products to continue entering the U.S. market. If the U.S were to expand the current program to all seafood — requiring information about how, when and where seafood was caught or produced — and if that information followed the product from the fishing boat or farm to the dinner plate, consumers could be confident that their seafood is safe, legally caught and honestly labeled. To expand transparency of fishing, public vessel tracking systems like the automatic identification system (AIS) — which broadcasts a vessel’s location, direction and speed — should be required on more fishing boats to shine a light on what is happening beyond the horizon. Adopting stronger requirements for imported seafood would also ensure that it is held to the same standards as seafood caught in the United States. Taking action to combat IUU fishing, stop seafood fraud and expand transparency has strong bipartisan support. A recent Ipsos poll, commissioned by Oceana, found that 89% of registered voters agree that imported seafood should be held to the same standards as U.S. caught seafood. Nearly 90% of voters also agree that the government needs to do more to ensure consumers are purchasing properly labeled seafood. Seventy-seven percent of voters support requirements for all fishing vessels to be publicly trackable.4 IUU fishing and an opaque seafood supply chain threaten the U.S. economy, environment and human rights. The United States has an opportunity to build upon its past leadership on IUU fishing and seafood fraud, and adopt widely supported policy solutions that will ensure all seafood in the United States is safe, legally caught, responsibly sourced and honestly labeled."